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Tired of saying ‘Hey Google’ and ‘Alexa’? Change it up with these unintentional wake words

Wake your Google speaker by saying “cocaine noodles.” Talk to Siri by saying “Hey Jerry.”

Tired of saying ‘Hey Google’ and ‘Alexa’? Change it up with these unintentional wake words
[Photo: Aditya Chinchure/Unsplash; Samuel1983/Pixabay]

For a while now, I’ve entertained myself by saying “Hey Booboo” instead of “Hey Google” to wake up my Google Home speakers. Now researchers from Ruhr-Universität Bochum and the Bochum Max Planck Institute have uncovered more than a thousand other words and phrases that can unintentionally trigger Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Apple’s Siri, and other voice assistants:

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  • Instead of “Hey Google” or “OK Google,” for instance, try saying “OK cool,” “OK, who is reading,” or “cocaine noodles.”
  • Instead of “Alexa,” try “A letter,” “election,” or “unacceptable.”
  • If you’ve changed your Alexa speaker’s default wake word, you can try “And the zone” instead of “Amazon,” “tobacco” instead of “Echo,” or “Peter” instead of “Computer.”
  • Instead of “Hey Siri,” try “a city” or “Hey Jerry.”

Silly as all this seems, accidental triggers can compromise your privacy. Amazon automatically keeps a record of your Alexa voice recordings, Google keeps a transcript of your Assistant queries and can keep recordings if you allow it, and Siri retains audio if you opt in. As a result, these voice assistants can capture private moments if they hear something that falls within their acceptable margin of error for a wake phrase.

It could be a long time until voice assistants can perfectly tune out anything that sounds like “Alexa,” “Hey Google,” or “Hey Siri.” But in the meantime, you might as well have a little fun with it.

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About the author

Jared Newman covers apps and technology from his remote Cincinnati outpost. He also writes two newsletters, Cord Cutter Weekly and Advisorator.

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